Five of Emily Styles’ friends will set off from Milton Keynes and walk the 14 miles to her grave in Buckingham to help raise money for Meningitis Now.
Lara Busby, Tanya Holmes, Kat Carr, Talia Kent and Evie Dowdall all knew Emily before she died on New Year's Day 2014, aged just 19, after contracting meningitis two days earlier. Emily’s family have been long-time supporters of Meningitis Now, including dad Peter who ran the Vitality London 10,000 for us in May and mum Julia, who helped us launch Marathon Month.
Now, having seen how much the charity has helped Emily’s family, they wanted to give something back.
All five of the friends have their own memories of Emily, a young woman they described as a “one of a kind”.
Kat said Emily would never fail to cheer anyone up. “You couldn’t help but feel better when she was around,” she said.
“My favourite memory is when we had a big picnic together in 2013,” added Lara. “We laughed, danced horrifically and spent quality time together – not to mention ate way too much food!”.
Evie said she would miss Emily’s “amazing laugh and her hugs”, while Tanya added, “It was my birthday, I was a single mum and she just turned up at my house with her mum and sister in tow and told me we were going shopping and her mum was going to babysit."
“She was always so thoughtful like that and just knew whenever someone needed a friend”.
All that matters is that we finish it together
The five friends said they were training “slowly” for the walk but said that it was the furthest any of them had ever walked. “We are hoping that it won’t take any longer than six hours but all that matters is that we finish it together so if it takes longer we don’t mind,” said Lara.
“We are hoping it won’t be too hot and hills will be our enemy."
“But I am looking forward to finishing the walk feeling like we have accomplished something brilliant while raising money for a charity so close to our hearts”.
As Emily was only 19 when she died, Lara wanted to add a special message in support of our students and young people’s campaign: “Understand all the symptoms of meningitis so that you can keep an eye out for anyone in your halls as well as yourself,” she said.
“Emily never had the infamous meningitis rash, so don’t base your decision to get checked on whether this happens as you could be wasting precious time”.
You can donate to Stride with Styles here.